Author Archives: George Simmers

After many years as a teacher, I retired and began researching for a Ph.D. on the fiction of the Great War – especially the books, stories and plays that were written during the War or immediately afterwards.

‘Oh What a Lovely War’ on tour

It’s over fifty years since I first saw Oh What a Lovely War at Wyndham’s Theatre in London. The anniversary revival at Stratford East gained some good reviews last year, so I took the opportunity yesterday to catch up with the touring version of the production at  Manchester Opera House. I went with mixed feelings. […]

Logistics and Support

Almost all writing about the War is about the sharp end – the fighting. The only novel I’ve read that is set in a labour battalion is Robert Keable’s Simon called Peter (and the subject of that is the chaplain’s sexual awakening, rather than the essential forestry work carried out by the soldiers who are […]

Girl of Good Family by ‘Lucian Wainwright’

I have really enjoyed reading Girl of Good Family (1935) by ‘Lucian Wainwright’, a pen-name of Rose Allatini. It was written nearly twenty years after her notorious banned novel Despised and Rejected, but returns to the war years described in that book. This novel is at least partly based on Allatini’s own life, but disguises […]

Allatini after Fitzroy

Thinking about C. W. Daniel has revived my curiosity about Rose Allatini, whose novel Despised and Rejected got him into so much trouble. She lived until 1980, and apparently wrote forty-odd novels, under a variety of pseudonyms, including Lucian Wainwright, Mrs Cyril Scott, and  Eunice Buckley. I can’t find out much about them, though. Are […]

Murderous Tommies

The Manual of Military Law published by the War Office in 1914 explicitly stated: The object of military law is to maintain discipline among the troops and other persons forming part of or following an army. Inevitably there were occasions when this objective clashed with what today we think of as the human rights of […]

C. W. Daniel, radical publisher

I spent Tuesday afternoon pleasantly, bookshopping in Sheffield, and bought something of a rarity from Rare and Racy, the books-and-music shop on Devonshire Street. It is a small pamphlet issued as a tribute to pacifist publisher C. W. Daniel, shortly after his death in 1955. I’ve written about Daniel here before, especially after my research […]

Churchill on the Kaiser

‘At every crisis he crumpled. In defeat he fled; in revolution he abdicated; in exile he remarried.’

The Battles of Coronel and Falkland Islands

This is the latest DVD release from the BFI, and it’s very good indeed. The Battles of Coronel and the Falkland Islands were the first sea battles of the Great War. At Coronel in November 1914, Admiral Graf von Spee’s German force, led by armoured cruisers Scharnhorst and Gneisenau, picked off the smaller British cruisers […]

Gertrude Harris

A remarkable lady died on Tuesday, at the age of 101. Gertrude Harris campaigned for many years to clear the name of her father, Harry Farr, who had been executed by firing squad in 1916. Eventually her efforts, and those of others, persuaded Des Browne, then Minister of Defence, to issue a blanket pardon for […]

Adventures of War: With Cross and Crescent

It was early in September of 1912 that Europe became alarmed by the menace of war [….] Macedonia, that vague and troublesome territory which for centuries has been the theatre of guerrilla warfare, of vendettas, of massacres and murders between Christians and Turks, was to be the cause of quarrel… Adventures of War: With Cross […]

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